Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Machu Picchu

After a wonderfully short plane ride we made it to Cuzco. We spent a couple of days exploring this old and very touristy city. There ware still so many reminders that this was first an Incan city hundreds of years ago. Many of their strong foundations still stand. While there, we discovered waterfalls, old aqueducts, beautiful vistas of the city, plenty of Llamas, and of course some new street foods.

one of the many fountains in Cuzco

As we mentioned, our primary reason for being in Cuzco was to visit Machu Picchu. So we headed out early one morning on a long (7-8 hours), bumpy and precarious van ride. One of the roads we took was literally hugging the mountainside and all you could see out the window was the valley below. Maybe a little dangerous, but our driver made it through.

After arriving at the Hydroelectric station, we hiked 2 hours into Aguas Caliente (also know as Machu Picchu Pueblo), the town from which you access Machu Picchu. By that time it was dark, so we found a hostel and had supper. We had quite a good room with a loud, raging river right outside our window. It provided some good white noise for sleeping. But we weren't to get much sleep or enjoy the river as we rose before dawn to start our steep 1 1/2 hour hike up to Machu Picchu in the rain. The rain soon stopped as dawn came and the misty clouds rolled around us.

Our entrance into Machu Picchu was shrouded in the mist, but it really only added to the splendor. We spent four hours discovering all of the nooks and crannies and terraces, imagining what life must have been like when the Incans were there, and coming upon beautiful views, weird looking animals, birds, and lovely flowers.

The Llamas help keep the grass at bay

The famous view of Machu Picchu (with us stuck in there)


Did I mention the weird animals? This appeared to be 1/2 squirrel & 1/2 rabbit

Dane showcasing some of the amazing Incan masonry built 500 years ago!

After our time there was over we hiked 3 hours back to the hydroelectric plan to catch our van back to Cuzco. Getting to Macchu Picchu the least expensive route (we did it for $98 per person and it's usually easily $250) may have been a bit of a challenge, but it was worth it. We slept soooo good after our day at Macchu Picchu!

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